Days of Christmas

After very happy and very lazy few days of Christmas celebrations, feel restored in body, mind and spirit, and distinctly Mellow; wonder vaguely whether I might be altogether nicer and calmer person if my life always consisted of reading, playing with Christmas presents and watching Agatha Christie and Shaun the Sheep

Begin vaguely to contemplate inevitable return of Normal Life and start drawing up usual list of pleasantly unrealistic ambitions for forthcoming New Year; have considerable sympathy with Katherine Mansfield’s two wishes for 1915 (“to write, to make money”), and fantasise about being cool and Modern  cook; but, for now, turn, as I always do at this stage of Christmas, to late mother’s 1961 Constance Spry Cookery Book to find recipe for Devilled Turkey Bones.


Home and Away

New week, new month and better than expected weather lead to surprisingly positive Monday mood; go for long walk with friend and determine to Clean The House From Top To Bottom.  Get as far as first child’s bedroom before all enthusiasm evaporates, but carry on in spirit of Dogged Determination, thinking about roses, menopausal rock stars and Rear Window.

Afternoon spent cooking and discussing Themes of Hospitality and Homecoming in The Odyssey with daughter who has AS exam tomorrow; any remaining brain capacity quite exhausted as a result, and am secretly quite relieved when son later rejects offer of Help With His Spanish Revision in favour of cricket nets and Test Match Highlights.

Will be spending rest of week staying with sister while husband takes Sole Charge of household; feel excited for all sorts of reasons, and only concern is What To Pack for week which will apparently include cold rain, strong winds, warm or Very Warm sunshine, and thunderstorms.

The Home-Maker

Week begins unpromisingly with heavy downpours and crashing thunderstorms (sister tells me it is lovely and sunny where she is). Do Monday housework, pursued by unsettled dog and thinking about The Home-Maker – surprisingly uplifting book about marriage, children, work, thinking, personal fulfilment, understanding, small town life and shopping; find myself in great sympathy both with husband (who hates his job, despises consumer culture, and loves being at home watching children develop); and wife (who feels imprisoned at home and achieves happiness only when she goes out to work, selling clothes); not at all sure what this reveals about own character, and decide not to pursue question for time being.

Appear to have no village duties this week, and refuse to think in any detail yet about Christmas  (unlike younger son, who has already compiled long and rather specific Wish List and gives regular updates on days, hours and minutes remaining until The Big Day); am very much looking forward to doing Nothing In Particular.





Have  suspended normal domestic service in experiment to see whether extensive daily efforts to create Nurturing and Supportive Home Environment will a) be missed and therefore at last Appreciated by children or b) prove A Complete Waste Of Time.

Use hours now liberated from baking and tidying to read every internet comment about Scotland Referendum and latest books from village library.  Forced to admit that now have practically nothing in common with Bridget Jones , who remember fondly from 1990s before she became Global Cultural Phenomenon; decide that it all started to Go Wrong with the films, and take somewhat cold comfort in thought that same fate unlikely to befall Mrs Ford’s Diary.  Find myself rather more in sympathy with servants in Longbourn.

Gloom of clouds

Rather struggling to maintain Holiday Spirit in face of relentless rain, mountains of undryable washing and nagging awareness that have yet to organise children’s bus passes for new school year or refreshments for Horticultural Show on Saturday. Domestic, village and family duties all seem peculiarly unappealing, and fantasise briefly about getting self glamorous and highly paid job (unspecified) in order to escape them all.

Reassured to find friends and other bloggers in similar gloomy mood, and realise that It Will Pass; decide to abandon any attempt to be constructive or efficient for time being and spend happy evening watching  DVDs with children. Feel quite Christmassy.


Hardy perennial

Morning spent helping on the Horticultural Association table at the village Friday Market; market sadly in one of less successful phases, and number of customers only slightly exceeds number of helpers, but we have happy time buying each other’s plants and discussing ghosts, gypsy tart and customised Rolls-Royces.

Return home to find double treat of plant catalogue and latest magazine from Persephone Books , fuelling long-cherished fantasy of house filled with Bloomsbury-inspired textiles and Intellectual Conversation while old-fashioned roses bloom in garden. Decide to Make Dreams A Reality and recklessly order three new books.

New season

Spend large part of day trying to put house in fit state for visitors; dog seeks refuge from relentless hoovering by digging up flower bed. Find box of rather squashed Easter decorations, pick few remaining tulips from garden, and attempt to create atmosphere of welcoming domestic elegance – mission not helped by presence of enormous second-hand cross-trainer in hallway (sons unfortunately take Personal Fitness very seriously).

Try to impress sister by making own hot cross buns for tomorrow. Had luckily also bought several packs at Marks and Spencer.

Evening at the cricket field: leather on willow, birds singing in the trees, major fund-raising initiative required. Am quick to veto Calendar Girls proposal.

First day of holidays

Gas engineer arrives to deal with boiler problem that seemed to resolve itself shortly after I made appointment; agree that might as well service boiler anyway, and we discuss nursing, greyhounds, and opportunities for recreation in local town (limited).

Younger son still determined to meet friends in town, and goes off in downpour to catch bus (wet weather plans apparently comprise Poundland and Subway). Meanwhile tell elder son that he can do either homework or housework, and remove all electronic equipment from daughter’s bedroom so that she can Concentrate Properly On Revision.

Read a newspaper article some years ago saying that modern parents worry too much about Entertaining The Children and that It Is Not Your Job To Make Every Moment Of Their Life Wonderful. Do sometimes wonder whether I have taken this message rather too much to heart.

Down Pipe

School holidays fast approaching, and calendar already full of events and visitors for which am almost entirely unprepared. Decide only thing to do is repaint the bathroom.

Have opted for dark colour that was cutting edge of fashion about five years ago; family not convinced, and despite assuring them that it will Totally Transform The Space begin to doubt own judgment as daylight steadily swallowed up. But hopes of Glamour and Sophistication keep me going, and by end of day bathroom begins to look gratifyingly as though it belongs to someone else entirely.

Rites of spring

Own children have long since outgrown church’s Mothering Sunday Crafts Morning, but I suspect that my place as Collage Supervisor is assured for life, and spend happy morning chatting to disconcertingly young parents as Spring Scene gradually takes shape, with joyful disregard for scale and lots of cotton wool clouds (or possibly sheep).

Realise that can ignore garden no longer, and spend afternoon trying to remove whole damp winter’s worth of debris while tortoise and dog circle each other warily and son gives skateboard a Rasta makeover.

Told to Keep Out Of The Kitchen after supper; do best to ignore distinct smell of burning. Happy Mothering Sunday tomorrow.